|Unknown Pond with The Horn at dusk: It was hard work getting here.
A quick break in the Nepal Chronicles to relate a interesting incident that took place on a hike Saturday.
On July 16, I did a out and back to Mt. Cabot via the Unknown Pond Trail from the Mill Brook Road side. It’s a not much used way to get there and the trail from the road to the Unknown tent site is fairly overgrown. Nice though, not too muddy, moderate grades all the way and not a single other person the whole way to the pond.
But all that changed about a mile up the trail when I was confronted by the most p’od grouse I have ever encountered. This guy was like the Black Knight from The Holy Grail – NONE SHALL PASS!
I saw him approaching the trail out of the corner of my eye and initially thought it might be a porcupine or raccoon, he was that big. He planted himself in the trail about 6 feet away from me, reared up his tail feathers, puffed up his chest and made the most awful chicken on acid squawking noise.
I thought it was funny at first but then realized this guy meant business. I backed off, but he kept coming. It was one of those moments where a bunch of things ran through my head. Are these things dangerous? Rabies? Claws? Can they peck me into submission? Will I be found by Fish and Game with 100 holes in my body? I didn’t have time to figure much out because he actually charged, half in flight. Holy cow! I did the first thing that came to mind which was raise my poles and charge right back, hoping to scare him off. It seemed to work, kind of, as he ran a couple feet off trail and I was able to get past him.
But just as I was patting myself on the back for my alpha male grouse charge, I heard that awful squawk again, and turned to discover he was attacking again from behind. This time he was chest high, fully in flight and heading straight for my head! I barely had enough time to get my hiking poles up to protect my face. He ran straight into the poles, dropped to the ground and immediately began attacking my feet, peeking and scratching.
Well, needless to say, I did what anybody would do at that point. I ran! After he chased me for about 25 yards, he turned around and headed back and I was left panting and wheezing after be bested by a crazy grouse!
Looking back I must admit that of all the wildlife to watch out for, a insane grouse was pretty low on my list. I marked the spot in the trail so I knew to be careful on the way back, but he was nowhere to be seen.
I would have taken a picture but I’m pretty sure he would have grabbed my camera and hit me over the head with it.
I know grouse can be pretty fearless when protecting a nest or little ones, but I have never heard of anybody being outright attacked by one. Lucky me, right? Anyway, here’s a couple shots of the hike, hard earned because I had to do battle with a grouse to get them. For the full album, link here: http://danandmeenakshi.phanfare.com/5204976
|Peaceful hike: Above, the woods and lovely dark and deep. Below, views of the Presidential Range from The Horn.
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